Chartered Global Management Accountants: Leading businesses forward
A new era of business is dawning as organisations look for finance staff—from the C-suite to entry-level—with a broader mix of competencies. Employers are demanding finance professionals with management accounting skills, business skills and the ability to be strategic business partners. But just as importantly, they are seeking individuals with strong people and presentation skills who can effectively communicate to influence change within their organisations.
To meet this employer demand, two of the world’s leading accountancy bodies – the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) – launched the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation in 2012. This designation recognizes a unique group of more than 150,000 management accountants worldwide who have reached the highest benchmark of quality and competency. CGMA holders work on the front lines of almost every industry and play an increasingly important role in helping companies determine and deliver the strategies required to drive sustainable success.
Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association), the unified voice of CIMA and the AICPA, says against a backdrop of regulatory shifts and the transformation of business and finance functions, there are widespread opportunities for CGMA holders to show their value. "The provision of high quality management and finance information has never been more important to support quality decision making," he says.
Members of the AICPA and CIMA recognised the growing need for professionally qualified accountants to support this decision making and formed the Association in 2017. Representing 667,000 management and public accountants from 184 countries and territories, the Association works to power opportunity and advance the accounting profession worldwide. Melancon says the Association provides a unified voice to help strengthen the profession's advocacy, expand employability for members, and connect accounting professionals around the world. Across Asia, for instance, Melancon says the consistency of CGMA competencies provides employers with confidence and enhances organisations' abilities to build relationships with stakeholders through integrated thinking and strategic decision-making.
In today’s ever-more multifaceted business environment, Melancon says CGMA holders are expected to combine a wide range of non-financial and financial information to provide strategic insight to guide insightful business decisions. He explains that, in addition to financial roles, CGMA professionals can be found at every level of an organisation as trusted business advisors, where they combine both accounting and business expertise to bring value.
Melancon also emphasises the employer benefit of a global benchmark to assess and develop staff competencies. For example, organisations with operations in mainland China who are looking expand outside of their borders can ensure a consistent set of competencies amongst their global finance staff with the CGMA program.
Keeping CGMA competencies both current and relevant is an important initiative of the Association, says Melancon. Its new Future of Finance research initiative, which includes interviews with more than 300 finance leaders across 14 countries, including China, will help define the skills businesses say are necessary in the future. This research will be used to further develop the CGMA Competency Framework and Syllabus, which is the foundation of the CGMA program and learning.
Melancon says the rapid development of technologies, which are changing the way businesses operate, require CGMA professionals to continually learn new skills in order to create value for their organisations.
Adding to that, Association Chairman Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA, says the Association is focused on helping students and CGMA designation holders expand their skillsets so they can direct and empower their own careers. She says this also benefits employers because it’s providing a pool of future-ready talent. "In Hong Kong, where change is recognised as inevitable and accepted, the feedback the Association has received from employers is very positive," she says.
She added, "The Association's focus and use of its resources on anticipating change and the future needs of our members is invaluable and hugely appreciated." She also explains because of its reach and resources, the Association is able to advance the reputation, employability and quality of CGMA holders. "This creates demand and adds value for our members," she says. “The CGMA designation signals to employers that the designee has built upon core financial expertise and business acumen and is committed to continually developing his or her management accounting competencies.”